Friday, April 12, 2013

Maya Angelou - How I Write

She's interviewed about writing and her process in the Daily Beast.

From the post...

How do you approach the distinction between straight autobiography and autobiographical fiction?
Well, I don’t think there’s such a thing as autobiographical fiction. If I say it happened, it happened, even if only in my mind. I promised myself that I would write as well as I can, tell the truth, not to tell everything I know, but to make sure that everything I tell is true, as I understand it. And to use the eloquence which my language affords me. English is a beautiful language, don’t you think? I speak a number of languages, but none are more beautiful to me than English.
What is your second-favorite language, of those you speak?
I would say Spanish, because I speak it best, I guess. I used to think French, but when I’m doing a live promotion in France, and I look for a word, like “tablecloth,” if it does not come out right away, it will snap out of my mouth in Spanish.
You have said that nothing frightens you as much as writing, but nothing satisfies you as much either. What frightens you about it?
Will I write a sentence that will just float off the page? Easy reading is damn hard writing. But if it’s right, it’s easy. It’s the other way round, too. If it’s slovenly written, then it’s hard to read. It doesn’t give the reader what the careful writer can give the reader.

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